Negotiating the nuclear weapons ban in 2017

On 27 October 2016 at the United Nations General Assembly, 123 countries made history when they voted in favor of a First Committee on Disarmament resolution agreeing to negotiate a ban on nuclear weapons next year.

The resolution on “taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament” through negotiations in 2017 is the […]

Humanitarian disarmament in 2016

The host and conveners of the 2016 Humanitarian Disarmament Forum

Five years on, the umbrella term “humanitarian disarmament” is still the appropriate title for the small community of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society groups working to protect civilians and humanity from the harmful effects of indiscriminate weapons and armed violence. This was one […]

A turmultuous yet productive year

2014 delivered increased turmoil resulting in civilian harm, especially in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. From nowhere, a new war began in the east of Ukraine across the border from Russia in which both sides have used explosive weapons in populated areas, including banned cluster munitions as well as Grad rockets, causing hundreds […]

Humanitarian disarmament in 2014

A busy year lies ahead for the community of activist governments, UN agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working to advance humanitarian disarmament. Concerns that the new Year of the Horse will see increasing turmoil look warranted as 2014 opened with armed violence taking lives in Central […]

2013 disarmament committee highlights

A breach of protocol occurred at the United Nations on 21 October, when applause erupted from the civil society gallery high up at the back of the newly renovated meeting room where the General Assembly’s First Committee on Disarmament and International Security was meeting. It came as New Zealand’s Ambassador Dell Higgie read the […]

Curbing explosive weapons in populated areas

Over the past year, the Syrian government has used missiles, air-dropped bombs, mortars, rockets, artillery and other explosive weapons with wide-area effects, causing multiple civilian casualties and destroying homes and communities. Due to the nature of the weapons and the locations targeted, these kinds of attacks kill and injure civilians, damage infrastructure, and leave […]

Advancing humanitarian disarmament in 2013

2013 looks set to be a busy year (as always) for the community of governments and non-state actors seeking to advance humanitarian disarmament, with events including the final Arms Trade Treaty negotiations, a conference to consider the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, and the launch of a new campaign to stop killer robots. They […]

Le désarmement humanitaire en France

On 16 January 2013, representatives of French NGOs working in the field of humanitarian disarmament held a day-long seminar in Paris to discuss on this new approach to international diplomacy and campaigning. Panel discussions looked at lessons learned and challenges ahead, impacts of the campaigns to ban landmines and cluster bombs, and France’s role. […]

Humanitarian Disarmament Campaigns Summit

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, 90 representatives from non-governmental organizations and global coalitions gathered in New York for a Humanitarian Disarmament Campaigns Summit convened by Human Rights Watch. The Summit Communiqué issued by 31 signatories calls for strong disarmament initiatives driven by humanitarian imperatives to […]

Weak law sets bad precedent on cluster bombs

Australia’s long-awaited ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions came a step closer on Tuesday, 21 August 2012, when the Senate approved legislation to implement the convention. The Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Bill 2010 passed the Senate by a vote of 29 to 10 and is expected to be signed into law […]